Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Pastor sentenced
Medford Pastor Sentenced to 17 Years for Sexual Abuse40.914819-72.668009primaryMedford Pastor Sentenced to 17 Years for Sexual Abuse210 Center Dr, Riverhead, NYArthur M. Cromarty Court Complex/articles/medford-pastor-sentenced-to-17-years-for-sexual-abuse/locations/3545556
A "spiritual advisor" assembled his own bible to influence his two victims and congregation, prosecutors said.
By Michael Sorrentino | Email the author | March 1, 2011 Add a comment (0 comments )
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A Medford man was sentenced to 17 years in prison Tuesday after being convicted in January of 37 counts that included sodomy and endangering the welfare of two unidentified teenage boys related to incidents that took place from December 2008 to July 2009.

Miguel Leon, Jr., 53, claimed to be a spiritualist in the Locumi Yoruba faith, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office said in a press release. Leon, who preached to a small congregation out of his home, told the victims that performing sex acts with him would bring them spiritual energy and a higher level of enlightenment. The victims were ages 14 and 16 at the time the crimes were committed.

An order of protection was issued that prevents Leon from contacting the victims in any way until the year 2036.

Leon assembled his own bible in this religion in order to manipulate those in his congregation, Assistant District Attorney John Cortes said.

“He assembled the book to brainwash his defendants, to exert power and control over his congregates,” Cortes said. “The religion was a sham.”

During the sentencing hearing at the Arthur M. Cromarty Court Complex in Riverhead, Cortes recommended to Suffolk County Court Judge Barbara Kahn a sentence of 56 years behind bars, knowing that the law capped the sentence to a maximum of 20 years.

The mother of the victims, who remained unidentified to protect the identities of her sons, spoke in tears at the sentencing thanking the various departments that helped to bring about the conviction and that her sons have been receiving care to help them realize that what happened is not their fault.

“For what he did to people in general he should never be allowed to walk streets free again,” she said.

Leon issued a short apology at the sentencing.

“I’m sorry for any hardship I caused anybody,” he said.

The public defender for Leon, Douglas O'Connor, recommended only two years of incarceration with post-release supervision citing that during a year on probation from his arraignment through the conviction he had no violations.

Kahn said that Leon has been given plea bargain offers, including one offer that would have kept the two victims from testifying in the three-week long trial.

“He was offered the opportunity to take the lesser sentence to protect [the victims] from re-living the incidents, which was the most disturbing testimony this court has ever heard,” Kahn said.

Cortes said he was pleased that the defendant received a sentence that is only three years shy of the maximum.

Leon was convicted on a total of 20 counts of criminal sex acts in the second degree, 15 counts of criminal sex act in the third degree and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

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